Attack of the Killer Mosquitoes! (Or Not?)

Many of you have probably seen what look like huge mosquitoes bouncing around in your house lately- dangerous, right? Wrong! These leggy critters are not a type of mosquito at all. They’re a different group of flies commonly called crane flies or mosquito hawks.



crane fly larva

They don’t eat mosquitoes, nor do they bite people for blood as some mosquitoes do. In fact, adult crane flies eat very little at all. They hatch out of eggs as larva, just like butterflies. The larva live in streams or in moist soil, which is probably why we’re seeing a lot of them this year. Larva can damage turf and lawns in some parts of the world, but in S. California they don’t pose a major agricultural or economic problem.

After spending a few weeks underground getting nice and plump, they pupate and emerge as the familiar large fly in the picture above. And please don’t worry about them hurting you- it is physically impossible for them to bite or sting people. Adult crane flies don’t feed very much in the handful of days they spend as adults, though some may drink nectar from flowers or take in water with a spongy mouthpart.

There are about 15,000 different species of crane flies in the world, and they play a valuable part in the ecology and food chain. They range from a couple of millimeters to over 10 inches across. They’re a major source of food for birds and fish, and help aerate and enrich our soil.  So the next time you see one in your house, no need to get the rolled-up newspaper!


Read Across America Day

Theodore Geisel was born on March 2nd, 1904 in Massachusetts. You may know him by a different name, a name that’s now beloved by millions of children and adults- Dr. Seuss! In 1998, the National Education Association (NEA) began planning a day to help children get excited about reading- and what better day to celebrate than Dr. Seuss’ birthday? As stated on the NEA’s website, “Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.” Today, Read Across America is celebrated by thousands of schools, museums, and libraries across the United States.

We’ll be having our own Read Across America day this Thursday, March 2nd. Please join us for a special craft, activity, and celebration of all things Seuss. We’ll have readings of Dr. Seuss books every hour from 10 am to 2 pm by museum staff and special guests from the La Habra police and fire departments. Hope to see you then!

Read Across America

Thursday, March 2nd from 10 am-2pm

FREE to members or with paid admission



Ocean Zone- Coming Soon!

If you’ve visited us lately, you may have seen something interesting in our Family Art Center. Pictured below is Lisa Reckon, our curator of Exhibits and Education. She’s working on a painting of a whale shark for our upcoming Ocean Zone exhibit! Ocean Zone will focus on the different depths, or zones, of the ocean and how each one supports its own unique life forms. Fun fact: most of the components from our Changing Gallery exhibits are fabricated in-house, with many items reused from previous exhibits. Lisa, along with other staff and interns, are already hard at work prepping for the Ocean Zone exhibit.



The upcoming exhibit will feature the animals, big and small, that make up our beautiful ocean. We’ll also help our visitors learn about marine conservation and how we can all take steps to protect our ocean waters. You’ll be able to play an interactive Shark Parts game or try the Ocean Scavenger Hunt! Best of all, we’ll have several saltwater tanks housing live ocean animals- get up close and personal with rays, jellyfish, coral, and more!

Ocean Zone opens March 28th, 2017. Call (562) 383-4236 or email for more information.


Paint & Sip Valentine’s Day Tea Party


It’s officially January, so happy New Year! That also means that one of our favorite holidays is just around the corner- Valentine’s Day! In between all the sweet treats and cards to loved ones, have you ever stopped to think about how Valentine’s Day came about? We don’t know exactly because it all happened a very long time ago, but there are a few explanations we can draw from history.

The ancient Romans used to hold a festival in mid-February called Lupercalia, which celebrated birth and new life. Later, in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius replaced Lupercalia with a holiday honoring- you guessed it!- St. Valentine on February 14th. Valentine was a priest who secretly married young men and women at a time when marriage was outlawed, which is why he’s associated with love. Fast forward to the 21st century, where Valentine’s Day is celebrated throughout the world with flowers, chocolates, cards, and time spent with a loved one.

This year we’ll be having our own Valentine’s Day event- a paint and sip Valentine’s Tea Party! Enjoy tea, cookies, and paint a beautiful canvas to take home!  Give us a call and sign up today.

Paint & Sip Valentine’s Day Tea Party

Saturday, February 11th from 11am to 12pm

$12.00/person ($10.00/person for members); museum admission is separate. Ages 3 and up. Please call (562) 383 4236 to make your reservation.

United Way Book Drive

We’re partnering with the United Way and Read Aloud 15 Minutes on their upcoming book drive! Their goal is to collect 1,000 new or gently used books to be donated to families in need right here in Orange County. By now we all know the importance of reading to your child every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. In fact, in a statement by the National Association for the Education of Young People (NAEYC), they stress that “The single most important activity for building the understandings and skills essential for reading success appears to be reading aloud to children.”

Look for our book donation box in the lobby. We’ll be collecting new or gently used books until March 1st, 2017. Thank you! For more information, please visit the Read Aloud 15 Minutes website or the United Way.


Little Free Library

If you’ve come for a visit recently, you may have noticed yet another lovely new addition to our front entrance- a Little Free Library! The Little Free Library movement was started in 2009 by Todd Bol in Wisconsin. The first one looked like a one room schoolhouse and was a tribute to his mother, a school teacher. Now there are over 50,000 of them worldwide, including at least 4 right here in La Habra! We love that our visitors and our community will be able to “Take a book, leave a book!” Remember what Dr. Seuss said- “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

To find out more about the Little Free Library foundation, visit their website. Special thanks to the United Way for donating the library and books, the Burbank family for being our models for the day, and to our exhibits intern Savannah Morra for customizing it so nicely!

Summer Programming Wrap Up

“Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori

   Hello everyone! It’s hard to believe that summer’s coming to an end- some of our local elementary schools are already back in session. We debuted a couple of new S.T.E.M.-based activities over the last couple months and hope you had a chance to experience them. Our goal was to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an informal, play-based environment. Inquiry plays an especially important role in early childhood science learning- “What happens if. . . ?” and “What if we try this?” We were happy to hear this type of dialogue between the children and their parents, our staff, and other children.

Once a week, we took over the art center for S.M.Art Fridays- science, math, and art. Kids became the architects in our fort-building activity and used shapes to create Mondrian-inspired art. Spaghetti and packing peanuts turned into construction materials on “Make an Earthquake-Proof Building” day.

The fun didn’t stop there! Our awesome volunteers ran the “Let’s Take It Outside” activities. We experimented with different paper airplane designs and learned about how bubbles form. The “Frozen Exploration” ice activity was another popular one- kids used tools and water to free plastic animals and other treasures from a big block of ice.

Early childhood is an incredible time- kids are building their motor skills, language, interpersonal relationships, and generally learning how the world works. By pairing this development with S.T.E.M. exploration, we’re trying to spark the imagination of our future scientists. We hope that you had a chance to enjoy some of these activities and maybe even continue some at home.

S.M.Art Fridays will continue every Friday in August in the Family Art Center from 11-3.

“Let’s Take It Outside” activities are offered on the weekends (weather permitting and depending on volunteer availability)

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Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead This Summer!

Hello, summer! The school year just flew by, didn’t it? With a busy summer season approaching, we’ve been hard at work creating new activities for kids of all ages. You may have heard or seen the word S.T.E.A.M a lot lately- it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. This summer we’ll be debuting several new S.T.E.A.M-based activities that will get even the youngest child excited about learning.


S.M.Art Station Fridays in the Family Art Center

Each Friday, our art room will be taken over by your young scientists. They’ll build a roller coaster, experiment with balloon rockets, create a fort city out of cardboard boxes, and more! We’ll have a different activity every week.

S.M.Art Station Fridays, every Friday from 11-3pm. Visit for details. Free with paid admission.

Let’s Take it Outside Activities

Our volunteers will be hosting different activities each week outside on the brick patio. This month you can try our Paper Airplane Challenge- How does a paper airplane fly through the air? Make your own and see how far it can go! Or, maybe you’d rather grab a wand and check out the Bubble Lab. Have some good clean fun while you investigate the properties of bubbles.

Time and day will vary; call (562) 383 4236 for schedule or visit Free with paid admission.

July: Frozen Exploration & Junk Boat Challenge

August: Earthquakes! Is Your House Still Standing? & Bubble Lab



Scholarship Tours and Community Outreach

Wow, it’s been a busy spring here at the Museum. We opened our new exhibit, Creepy Crawlies, we’ve been implementing new programs like our Girl Scout overnight campout, and we have hundreds of local students coming for field trips every week!

But our work isn’t just what you see contained within the Museum walls. Community outreach is a vital part of our Museum mission. Having a presence at special events is a great way for us to meet our community as well as get exposure to people who aren’t familiar with the Museum yet. A few weeks ago we had a booth at the Baby and Kidz Expos in Pasadena and Costa Mesa, and we’ll also be at Imaginology- Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead! at the OC Fair and Event Center this Friday.

Another important part of outreach is our grant-funded scholarship program. Qualified schools receive an in-class workshop taught by Museum staff, free admission to the Museum, and a bus voucher for their transportation. In the pictures below, you can see some excited students in our earthquake-themed 2nd grade workshop. They’re using marshmallows and toothpicks to build structures which are then placed on a Jell-O tray to simulate an earthquake. The workshops are created to reflect Next Generation Science Standards, so we get to learn while we have fun. We’re very grateful to be able to offer these learning opportunities to K-2 students in our community!

   A limited number of scholarships are available. The interest list opens every August for the coming school year.Only Title 1 schools may apply. For California Science Quest scholarships, contact Kristine at For On the Road to Energy Conservation (OTREC) or H2O Here We Go! (La Habra school district only), please contact Eden at Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Antique and Collectibles Sale

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the cool artifacts and objects from our past exhibits? Typically our curator and staff place items that aren’t being displayed in our storage unit. We love to reuse them in future exhibits or events. In a perfect world, we’d have unlimited space for these unusual collections. However, we’ve gathered so many unique items that it’s time for a little spring cleaning!

This Saturday, February 6th, we’re holding our first ever Antiques and Collectibles Sale! We’ve been busy tagging and cleaning lots of one-of-a-kind treasures, like vintage cameras, military equipment, educational materials, and much, much more! All proceeds go directly to the museum to provide funding for future exhibits and programming. If you’ve ever wanted to own a custom-built space shuttle or a small piece of La Habra history, now’s your chance. Hope to see you!

Antique and Collectibles Sale

Saturday, February 6th from 10am to 4pm

(562) 383-4236